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Rejecting Instruction or Accepting Correction
Proverbs 15:5 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
5 A fool despises his father’s instruction,
but he who accepts correction is prudent.
A fool despises his father’s instruction. In Proverbs 1:7, it says, “fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Despise (נָאַץ naats) has the sense of spurning the father, treating him disrespectfully, to look down on him with contempt so that the fool refuses to listen to or rejects the instruction. Fools: (כְּסִיל kesil) hate knowledge as they lack good judgment. Their character is stupidity and rudeness, one who completely lacks understanding and is rebellious in his ways. Instructions: This Hebrew noun (מוּסָר musar) means instructions, precepts, directions, procedures, regulation, i.e., a principle or rule concerning the personal conduct that is to be obeyed within a community. The phrase “hears instruction” means to “obey my instructions” or “listen to my instructions.”
But he who accepts correction is prudent. The Hebrew (שׁוֹמֵר Shomer or שֹׁמֵר Shomer) rendered accept means to keep, watch over, guard, having the sense of conforming one’s actions or practice. Here it means to keep correction (תּוֹכַחַת tokachath), conforming to the correction. The one who accepts words that show strong disapproval, with possible actions of punishment to follow, is prudent (שָׂכַל sakal). The prudent person is one who shows shrewdness, cleverness, craftiness, sensibility, wisdom, and good judgment in making his decisions. The prudent man has the capacity to understand the ramification of what he says and does. The prudent one, who acts with knowledge, says and does things intelligently, and his behavior is governed by wisdom. In the book of Proverbs, the wise or prudent person stops to ponder before speaking or acting, so he behaves reasonably, discreetly, and humbly, with most of his words or decisions succeeding.
A fool despises his father’s instruction,” continues the wise king, “but he who accepts correction is prudent.” In the family, it is the obligation of the parents, especially the father, to deliver correction, and it is the child’s responsibility to accept it. (Ephesians 6:1-3) However, all of God’s people receive correction as they study through the Word of God. “For those whom the Lord loves he disciplines,” says Hebrews 12:6, “and scourges every son whom he receives.” How we respond to correction (discipline) uncovers whether we are wise or foolish. The Bible says: “Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but he who heeds reproof is honored.”—Proverbs 13:18.